27 November 2014, 18.30 – 20.00

Mind-Brain Lecture: Ted Honderich (UCL)

“Actual Perceptual Consciousness: Only There Being a World Out There”

"To understand what it is to be conscious, don’t start with any of five leading philosophical ideas – qualia, what it’s like to be something, traditional subjectivity, intentionality, phenomenality, or any bundle of them. Start with a figurative database. It leads to ordinary consciousness in the primary or core sense being initially adequately clarified, which kind of clarification is essential to inquiry and real agreement and disagreement, as something's being actual. 

The resulting wholly literal and explicit theory of consciousness, Actualism, first is that with consciousness in perceiving, what is actual is a spatio-temporal piece or stage out there of a physical world, usually a room. Not sense data, any other representations, a self, functional or cognitive-science relations, some constitution or structure of consciousness, or whatever else from the histories of philosophy and science, whatever roles such things play in the associated unconscious mentality.

With thinking and with wanting as against perceiving, what is actual, to be briefer than brief, is only representations-with-attitudes.

Being actual, second, is being subjectively physical, differently so with perceptual consciousness as against each of cognitive and affective consciousness.

No representationism by itself is a sufficient account of cognitive and affective consciousness.

The subjectively physical as a whole, both parts being open to full and explicit characterization, no gesturing, is one great category of all physicality, the other being objective physicality.

Actualism right or wrong is therefore a wholly different physicalism from predecessors.

It is different too in being partly an externalism and partly an internalism or cranialism. It deals exclusively with the prime subject with respect to the philosophy and science of mind. It is argued to satisfy assembled criteria better than any competing theory. It denies unique mystery about mind. It claims to explain subjectivity fully, only partly by having a real physical world dependent not only on the objective physical world but on you neurally. Despite being persistently worked out, is it a programme? It may be philosophically as well as scientifically fertile."
(Taken from: http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho)

Somewhat longer summary of Actual Consciousness

Actual Consciousness -- a lecture

Ted Honderich is Grote Professor Emeritus in Philosophy of Mind and Logic
University College London


All are welcome!



Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Luisenstraße 56, Haus 1
Room 144 (ground floor)
10117 Berlin